Sony Ericsson P1 - First Look

Is the mobile phone market growing up at last? At last night’s Sony Ericsson launch there wasn’t a Walkman or Cyber-shot in sight as the phone maker rolled out four new handsets with an emphasis on design.

Pocket-lint managed to get a brief hands on with the new smartphone from Sony Ericsson, so should you be dumping your BlackBerry or Treo? We find out.

The Sony Ericsson P1 is a slimmed-down smartphone that’s 25% smaller than the P990. Clad in corporate silver and grey metal tones, the 3G Symbian P1 has a 2.6-inch QVGA touchscreen, push email (including ActiveSync and BlackBerry Connect) and comes enabled for VoIP – although it remains to be seen how many networks will permit the disruptive technology.

While the dual-way rocker QWERTY thumbpad is still a handful, handwriting recognition feels a touch faster than in previous models in our brief look.

The Opera browser looks great on the transflective display, although the addition of Wi-Fi (802.11b only) connectivity doesn’t quite make up for the surprising lack of high speed HSDPA data transfer, something of a must for the mobile businessman away from all those mesh networks in London.

One of the most popular features at the launch was the Business Card Scanner software, which uses the P1’s autofocus 3.2MP camera to capture and recognise contact data, with an admirably low error rate - you know like the new feature on the Compaq 2710p, also announced today, that this will be one of those show off items at business meetings.

Out of office hours, you get an FM radio, stereo Bluetooth and a 512MB Memory Stick Micro to feed the P1’s on-board media player. 3G talk time is estimated at just 3.5 hours, and the quoted 350 hours standby time seems unlikely given the size and brightness of the P1’s screen.

With stylus, card and battery, the P1 weighs in at a very reasonable 124g and ships with a neat USB/charging desk dock.

Verdict

Overall, the P1 seems to offer plenty over the previous P990, however the verdict is still out as to whether or not it will stand up to the likes of the Treo or the BlackBerry.

We will have a full review when the phone is released later in the year. Expect it in stores in the second half of the year.